Participatory approaches in natural resource management are increasingly being criticized for their tendency to neglect power relations and conflicts of interests. Negotiation approaches have been proposed as a strategy to overcome such shortcomings. Using the case of negotiations on crop-livestock conflicts in Sri Lanka as an empirical example, this paper proposes to apply the concept of political capital in combination with game theoretical modeling for an analysis of negotiation processes in natural resource management. The model serves to analyze both the incentive structure of the resource users, who are motivated by economic incentives, and the incentive structure of political decision-makers, who are motivated by political interests. The crucial role that the public administration may play for the enforcement of a negotiation outcome is highlighted. The paper discusses potential extensions of the model and concludes that the concept of political capital, in combination with game theoretical modeling, provides a useful tool for the analysis of negotiation approaches in natural resource management.